The Aleph Themes

This Study Guide consists of approximately 51 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of The Aleph.
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The Nature of Memory

In his parable "The Witness," Borges imagines the last man to have witnessed pagan rituals dying in Anglo-Saxon England and remarks, "with him will die, and never return, the last immediate images of these pagan rites." Because of this, "the world will be a little poorer," since it will have lost its last link to a vanished historical era. Borges then wonders what images will die with him.

Similarly, "The Aleph" examines the fragile and faulty nature of memory. The story opens with Borges revealing his admiration of Beatriz Viterbo's never allowing her final agonies to "give way to self-pity or fear"; this admiration, however, is then seasoned by melancholy when he notices a new billboard advertising a brand of American cigarettes. While this detail may initially strike the reader as trivial, it helps Borges illustrate the subtle ways in which one's world is always...

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This section contains 741 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy The Aleph Study Guide
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The Aleph from Gale. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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